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Macon to get $50,000 to help with provided services.

A debate initiated by Macon County Commissioner Jim Tate last year has finally seen some resolution, even if it isn’t quite the solution Macon County had hoped for. Last Thursday, the Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to establish a “Highlands” fire district for homes located along the Macon/Jackson border. The fire district, which includes more than 300 homes, will require property owners to pay just shy of a penny fire tax to generate $50,000 requested by the Highlands Fire Department.

Commissioner Tate brought the issue to the Macon County board, which after an in depth study showed that Macon County taxpayers pay about $160,000 a year to provide service to the 332 homes on the border, which are actually within Jackson County borders.

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During its annual budget retreat, the town of Franklin presented a budget reflecting a one cent tax increase for the coming year.

Due to the property tax revaluation in Macon County this year, the town's property value declined by $7,281,676 in assessed value, equating to a 1.014 percent reduction. Factoring in the new tax base, the town would need to increase the current tax rate of .27 to .2727 to maintain a revenue neutral budget.

Since 2007, the town of Franklin's tax base has grown on average by 2.07 percent. In applying a growth factor to the town's current tax rate of .2727, to produce a revenue neutral tax rate, the town would need to increase the rate to .2784 cents per $100 valuation.

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Administration of drug could save lives from overdose.

In 2013, 40,000 overdoses occurred in North Carolina, 1,000 of which were accounted for in Macon County resulting in six deaths. That number may soon decrease as the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition is working to distribute naloxone or Narcan, to law enforcement and other interested agencies across the state.

Robert Childs, head of the NC Harm Reduction Coalition, spoke to law enforcement, emergency personnel and other organization Monday morning about naloxone, a drug that dramatically reverses the effects of opiates. The drug that is available to the public comes in three forms: a needle to be filled with the medication, a preloaded component, or a nasal spray.

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Macon County Commissioners got an in depth look into the school system's proposed budget last Thursday when the Board of Education and the Board of Commissioners convened in a joint meeting at Iotla Valley Elementary.

Macon County School Superintendent Dr. Chris Baldwin presented county leaders with a line item budget, highlighting financial concerns of the school district's local budget.

Based on historical information presented by Baldwin, since the 2011-12 school year, budgetary items within the school district have been reduced by $1,317,689. Budget line items such as athletics were reduced by $70,351, while others, such as technology, were reduced by $243,315.

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State boasts $400 million surplus at Raleigh meeting.

While addressing hundreds of North Carolina county leaders for the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners County Assembly Day, Governor Pat McCrory announced that this fiscal year, the state government expects to tally $400 million surplus. Previous consensus budget forecasts predicted a revenue shortfall of $271 million for the fiscal year.

According to Gov. McCrory, the surplus can be attributed to a 2013 tax law change that lowered income tax rates, narrowed deductions, and slightly expanded the sales tax base. Sales tax revenue has increased this year as well. Earlier this month, it was announced that the state has paid off a $2.8 billion unemployment insurance debt to the federal government.

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Group seeks to support town’s remaining festivals.

With fewer festivals on the calendar for Franklin this summer, the Tourism Development Authority (TDA) made it a point to ensure adequate support was provided for the ones that are scheduled.

Between two different grant requests, the TDA approved $2,530 to support the Taste of Scotland festival set for Father's Day weekend, June 19-21.

"I think with the Taste of Scotland being one of the only festivals we have scheduled this summer, we need to be sure and support it," said board member Matt Bateman.

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Manager presents budget message to Town Board

The town of Franklin took the first of many steps needed to pass the 2015-16 fiscal year budget on Monday night when town manager Summer Woodard presented a budget proposal to the board of aldermen.

"The town of Franklin remains in sound financial condition," opens Woodard's budget message. "This budget addresses the need for long term financial, infrastructure and strategic planning for the town of Franklin. The town continues to experience slow growth in revenue sources, especially water and sewer revenue. All departments in general government were able to reduce their budgets by five percent. It is crucial that expenditures do not exceed revenues. The town should stabilize and build its fund balance. Fund balance is key to long term financial planning."

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Affordable ‘garden flats’ to be certified energy efficient.

As part of the town of Franklin's Principals of Growth priority to create more affordable housing within the town, the Franklin Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a Special Use Permit for a 60-unit housing complex along Siler Road on Monday night.

Jim Yamin with Workforce Homestead Inc, the firm responsible for the housing unit outlined plans for the property in full details to aldermen on Monday night. The 60-unit affordable housing complex is proposed on five acres of land currently owned by James Vanderwoude along Siler Road.

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When Macon County Commissioner Ronnie Beale was elected president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) he made it his mission to make people in the eastern part of the state aware of where Macon County was located on a map.

Last August, he made huge progress toward that goal when around 100 county commissioners took a tour through Macon County, getting an idea of the landscape. Last week, he brought his goal full circle as he made history by being the first President of the association to hold a meeting as far west as Macon County since the association was started in 1908.

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An arrest has been made more than two months after the Kmart building in Franklin was evacuated due to a fire.

Michael Scott, 18, of Franklin, was arrested at the Macon County Courthouse without incident on Monday, April 27. He was charged with felony burning certain building, and was given a $1,000 secured bond by Macon County Magistrate Erin Moorman.

"The Franklin Police Department has worked closely with the State Bureau of Investigation, the county fire marshal, and the Kmart Loss Prevention staff to complete a thorough investigation into the fire that occurred in February," said Franklin Police Chief David Adams.

On February 14, emergency personnel responded to a report of a fire in the upstairs storage room at Kmart located in the Westgate Plaza. After the fire was extinguished, Arson Investigator Farrell Jamison deemed the fire to be suspicious, as no electrical sources existed in the storage room other than an overhead light.

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